Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coconut Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Coconut Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Here is another version of Baked Oatmeal.  I've tried adding apples, blueberries, chocolate chips, pineapple, and now coconut.  So far I haven't met a baked oatmeal that I don't love!  The coconut pecan was a terrific combination.  Its also great leftover.  I can bake a big pan and eat on it all week and is a great way to avoid poptarts, frozen waffles and boxed cereal.  


Here's how I made Coconut Pecan Baked Oatmeal AT HOME MY WAY:


COCONUT PECAN BAKED OATMEAL 
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten) (just whites works fine or egg beaters)
  • ½ cup margarine/butter or oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 2 cups shredded coconut (I used sweetened coconut)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped or lay on top before baking.
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In separate dish, mix together milk, egg(s), melted butter/margarine/oil and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir in the coconut and the pecans (or lay the pecans on top before baking). Spread into a 9 x 13 dish (sprayed or lightly oiled). Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Serve warm.  


COCONUT PECAN BAKED OATMEAL - HALF BATCH - for baking in a pie plate, 8x8 square pan, or a loaf pan  (the loaf pan makes a deeper dish of baked oatmeal which I prefer).
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light) 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped or use halves and lay them on top before baking
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl.  In a separate dish (I used my 2-cup measurer), measure the milk to 1/2 cup.  Add 1/4 cup of oil.  Mix in the blended egg.  Stir well to mix.  Then add the liquid ingredients to the dry in the bowl.  Stir well.  Stir in the coconut and nuts (or lay the nuts on top before baking).  Pour into lightly oiled or sprayed pie pan, 8x8 square pan, or loaf pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned.


To avoid rushing and help me to get this ready before I leave for work, I mix up the dry ingredients before bed, get my measuring cup and oil out as well as the cooking spray and the pan I'm going to use for baking it.  That way, in the morning before my shower I just have to measure the milk in the measuring cup, then measure in the oil, add the egg, vanilla, blend and add to the dry ingredients.  Then spray my pan, pour in the recipe, and stick it in the oven.  While I'm in the shower my breakfast is baking and creating a delicious smell in my kitchen!




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls



I used to make this recipe at Thanksgiving.  I worked hours on various types of rolls and yes they were delicious!  But we have so much food at our Thanksgiving feast!  Everyone brings lots of dishes and its just really good.  But in having that much variety (tables covered with desserts, sides, casseroles and salads), the rolls don't really get the focus that they deserve.  So I have since decided to make these very special rolls for small family dinners.  They really are a stunning star at any meal.  They are lightly sweetened (kind of like those Hawaiian rolls you get at the store).  They are so light and pillowy.  Not just fluffy but like little pillows.  They are the kind of rolls that when you try to pick one up they give in your hand.  Definitely perfection on a plate!


I make these rolls exactly like the recipe says.  I don't usually buy shortening (Crisco) but for this recipe I haven't experimented with substituting butter although I'm sure that would work fine.  These are just so perfect that I don't want to change a single thing.  But I'm sure one of these days I'll try butter to see if that works since I don't usually have shortening on hand.  I also use canned sweet potatoes in this recipe.  I know you could cook your own and I'm guessing there's approximately one cup of sweet potatoes in a drained can of sweet potatoes.


I originally found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.  


Here's how I make Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls AT HOME MY WAY: 


Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls


Ingredients:
  • 2 packets of yeast (I used 4 teaspoons because I buy in bulk)
  • 1 cup warm water (hot but no hurt)  (110° to 115°)
  • 1 can (15-3/4 ounces) cut sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Instructions:

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in very warm water (hot but no hurt).  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Beat in the mashed sweet potatoes with a mixer.  Add the sugar, shortening, egg, salt and 2 cups flour.  Beat smooth.  Switch to a spoon.  Add remaining flour (I leave the last 1/2 cup for kneading).

Using floured hands in the large bowl or on a floured surface, knead until smooth. (I just knead in my bowl.)  (Set a timer for 6 minutes and knead/squish/ and fold the entire six minutes).  Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl (I just spray the bowl I'm kneading in with flour and put the dough back in there... I'm not much on using lots of dishes that I have to wash), turning once to grease the top of the dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (app. 1 hour).

After the dough has risen, gently press dough down.  Divide into thirds.  Form each portion into a disc for rolling.  On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 12-inch circle.  Spread the circle with melted butter/margarine.  Cut (using a pizza cutter if you have one) into 12 wedges (like spokes on a wheel).  Roll up each wedge starting with the wide side of the triangle, ending with the pointed tip.  Place the rolls pointed tip underneath 2 inches apart on a greased/sprayed baking sheet.  Proceed with the remaining two discs of dough as before.  Cover the pan of unbaked rolls and let rise until doubled (app. 40 minutes).

Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden.  Gently remove from pan.

(NOTE:  Since this recipe makes a lot, I usually make one pan for dinner, and I place the other pan of rolls (before the second rise) into my freezer.  I bag the frozen unbaked rolls for baking another day.  To bake, remove from the freezer, place on a greased/sprayed cookie sheet, let thaw, and rise, and bake accordingly.)



I didn't melt my butter, just spread some on.  Worked fine and dandy!


I know my lighting is bad.  But can you SEE the little pillows of perfection here?  YUM!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Brown bagging it - Homemade Frozen Burritos





One of my favorite blogs is Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.  On Lynn's blog she has a post and recipe for Brown Bag Burritos which she got from another blog called "The Finer Things in Life".  Amy's Brown Bag Burritos looked really yummy.  But, being the cheapo that I am, instead of cooking the ingredients for these burritos, I prefer to save my leftovers and then assemble them when I have the stuff to make them.  I regularly keep cooked pinto beans in my freezer in small containers and this weekend I had some leftover taco meat (which I just season with salsa and chili powder instead of using the little packets).  I combine those two things for my burrito filling.  But, you could omit the meat and use leftover fajita veges for a meat free burrito.  


I love having something for lunch that I can just grab and go.  I also have a long love affair with those cheap little burritos you get in the freezer section.  But, I know those things have to be bad for you.  Anything that cheap is usually always bad for you.  It had never occurred to me to make my own until I was led to Amy's post from Lynn's post.


The first time I made these I bagged each burrito in little sandwich baggies, sacking all the bagged burritos in a container or large gallon ziploc bag for keeping in the freezer.  I don't usually ever buy paper towels but I figure the burrito will warm up better in the microwave if its not in plastic.  Plus the baggies are then tossed in the trash and I would rather throw a paper towel away than a baggy so I decided on wrapping them in paper towels and then sacking the wrapped burritos in the original bag that the tortillas came in.  Also the paper towels work great for ... well.... for using as a napkin for lunches on the go.  Sometimes I do make homemade tortillas.  I just did not today.  I had a bunch left from making special holiday food and this made a speedy assembly.  


Here's how I made Homemade Freezer Burritos AT HOME MY WAY:


HOMEMADE FREEZER BURRITOS

  • Leftover taco meat
  • Leftover pinto beans or black beans, even a can of refried beans will work (with  some juice - my beans are cooked until thick because I like them that way)
  • Flour tortillas
  • Paper Towels
  • Large bag/container to keep the burritos inside in your freezer
Re-heat the meat and beans.  Stir together.  Place a scoop down the center of a heated/soft tortilla.  Roll as for a burrito.  Roll in the paper towel the same way.  Bag them up.  Place them in the freezer.

To reheat, just heat in the microwave for a minute until hot.  

These would also be good in a casserole dish topped with salsa and cheese for a speedy weeknight supper.  (Heated in the oven until hot and melty, of course).


Getting the assembly line ready.


Folding the burritos.


Ready to fold with the paper towel and bag it up.





Friday, February 10, 2012

Superbowl food - Oreo Balls!



My older daughter had a couple of football parties to go to over the weekend, one on Saturday night, and a superbowl party on Sunday.  Her Dad and I were going to the same superbowl party so Rebecca and I decided to make a double batch of oreo balls.  Rebecca had made these for us at Christmas.  But, with so many sweets I didn't really get to enjoy them so I was super happy that we made them again.  I say "we" loosely because really all I was ALLOWED to do was put the oreo cookies and cream cheese in the food processor and push the button.  Probably for good reason though because the food I cook might be delicious but I'm not always so great with the presentation!  Rebecca on the other hand is a perfectionist with making it "look" beautiful!  So she twisted my arm and I "let" her have all the fun! 

Here's how we made Oreo Balls AT HOME MY WAY:

Oreo Balls

Ingredients:
  • One package Oreos (generic is fine)
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (we used low fat - not that it helped any LOL)
  • 1 package of while chocolate (we call it almond bark - it comes like an ice cube tray of chocolate)
Directions:

Place the oreos in a food processor and crush or place the cookies in a big gallon sealed bag and bang with a rolling pin.  Add the cream cheese to the food processor and process until the cookies/cream cheese form together into a ball.  If you don't have a food processor, dump the cookies into a ball and stir in some warmed /room temp/ softened cream cheese until all combined.

Form into balls the size of a ping pong ball (or a little smaller, these are RICH!)

Place the balls on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer until cold (30 minutes).

Meanwhile place your chocolate in a mini crockpot (this works SO MUCH BETTER than the microwave because the chocolate will melt evenly and not burn). 

Prepare a place for the dipped balls (We used foil.  You can butter it a little or spray lightly with Pam).  Using a fork to hold the ball (not puncture the ball though), dip the ball in the melted chocolate.  Tap the fork on the side of the crockpot to "sheet" the chocolate".  Place the coated ball on the buttered foil.  Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.

When the chocolate is hardened, move the candy to a serving dish. 

These are super yummy!  They really taste like more than oreo cookies.  They are creamy and just really delicious.  We just store ours on the counter in a covered dish for a week or two, if they make it that long!



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